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Dear Colleagues, I've talked to you before in several Straight Talks about UHN's budget strategies for the end of this year and the coming fiscal year, 2009/10. Given some of the news coming out yesterday around job losses predicted in the hospital sector, I thought it would be a good time to reinforce what I've said in the past about the budget. Dealing with those challenges today, will also set us up for success in the coming year.
We are working hard with the LHIN and the Ministry to balance our 2008/09 budget and to start in a responsible position for 2009/10 (our financial year begins April 1). To balance this year and next, we are working hard to attract new monies to the organization, to manage our patient volumes within funded levels, and we are instituting a hiring freeze and a variety of other workforce initiatives that will protect jobs. The most important initiatives in addition to strictly controlling external hires are eliminating overtime on our clinical units and retraining staff for other (generally more complex) work if their current position is eliminated. By using this strategy, we will avoid involuntary layoffs.
Our corporate teams and Catherine Zahn's clinical teams are working with all of you to ensure that we continue to give quality care within the budget available. We have already reduced our clinical support and corporate costs and our clinical teams are working on a number of initiatives to maintain our clinical activity within budget.
In summary we will continue to stick to the three principles that we have always used in managing tight budgetary situations - we will not run a deficit, we will avoid involuntary layoffs and we will maintain our budgeted clinical activity.
My thanks for all of the work that goes on at UHN to make us a caring, creative and accountable hospital. Balancing the budget is one measure of accountability which ensures that we will be able to continue to offer the very best care we can to the sickest patients in the Canadian healthcare system.